Monday, February 17, 2014

Scene of the Crime with Author Alex Grecian!

My devoted readers will know that I purchased a copy of The Yard at the Waterstone's in Cambridge, England, and when I brought it home and read it, Alex Grecian's book became one of my Best Reads of 2013. (I then got my hands on a copy of his second book, The Black Country, and reading it confirmed that he is now one of my Auto-Buy Authors.) Denis and I had the pleasure of chatting with Alex when he came to The Poisoned Pen, and I have to say that he's one of the friendliest and most interesting authors I've had the pleasure to meet. So... you have to know that I was thrilled when he said he'd do an interview for this blog!

Alex Grecian holding one of my favorite books of 2013
Before we get to the interview, I have to show you that I can Google with the best of 'em. Here are some links so you can learn even more about this very talented writer:

Alex's website

Now let's get to the fun part!

What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special?

I can remember reading The Thinking Machine and loving it. I can remember sitting on top of the clothes dryer in the basement of our house when I was seven or eight and reading some of the Sherlock Holmes stories in a tiny paperback edition with a light blue back cover. I loved the fact that those characters were entirely creatures of intellect.

But probably the book I read that had the earliest and most lasting influence on me was Tarzan. It’s also a book about a towering intellect (he teaches himself to read and write using abandoned building blocks and books in a tree house), but it’s really about the quest for identity, about figuring out who we are as people and about the choices we make regarding our circles of influence. At least, that’s what it was about for me. I think those themes sparked something because those are the things I always seem to write about now.

Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time?

I collect books and comic books. I love to read, love the printed word, and I try to surround myself with the best stories I can find in hopes that they’ll influence me and help make me a better writer.

But I place a high value on time spent with my family. My son’s childhood is speeding by too fast, so I grab hold of every moment I can get with him.

If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guide books.)

I’m afraid I’d have to recommend you visit somewhere else. There’s a good chance you’d die of boredom in my hometown. [Ahem... at least your hometown has a bookstore!]

You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you?

Maybe Jason Bateman. Or Jesse Eisenberg.

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction?

These days I’d probably have to go with either Harry Bosch or Socrates Fortlow. All-time favorites would include Travis McGee, Spenser and Hawk, Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, Parker, Lord Peter Wimsey, Tom Ripley, Hilary Tamar… and so many others. Do Jeeves and Bertie Wooster count? Oh, and that Sherlock Holmes fella.

If you could have in your possession one signed first edition of any book in the world, which book would that be? Why that particular book?

The Quiet American. Graham Greene is my favorite author (we named my son after him) and that’s my favorite of his books. I do own a first edition of Our Man In Havana, but still haven’t tracked down The Quiet American yet. I’d also love to have signed first editions of The Great Gatsby and The World According to Garp.

How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published? What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore?

When the auction for The Yard happened and I found out how many editors were involved and where the bidding had started, I was so stunned that I needed to get out of the house. So I dropped in on my barber and got an unnecessary haircut. It wasn’t much of a celebration, but it forced me to sit still and calm down. Then I took my family out to the best restaurant in town.

Name one thing on your Bucket List.

I’d like to visit China at some point and put to use the five years of Mandarin classes I took.

You've just received a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice. Which bookstore are you making a bee-line for?

Great question. Unfortunately, I live in a town with only one bookstore (I might need to do something about that), so I’d head there. But if geography weren’t an issue, there are so many wonderful bookstores I’d visit on at least a weekly basis if I could. I love The Strand, and Powell’s, Joseph Beth, Poisoned Pen, Murder By the Book, Once Upon a Crime….

Of course, Barnes and Noble does a great job of making bookstores a destination in communities that are otherwise underserved. There are so many others, I could fill up a whole interview naming them all. I’m a bookstore addict and honestly can’t name many that I wouldn’t want to kill several hours in. (The exception: There’s a used bookstore in London that heaps most of their books in a huge floor-to-ceiling pile that nearly topples out onto the sidewalk. I’m not crazy about the way they treat their books and probably wouldn’t go back there. But I have to admit I did find a few books to buy when I was there.)

Coming in May!!!

Thank you so much for spending this time with us, Alex. It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you a little better!

May your book sales do nothing but increase!

Speaking of which, I'm telling all of you right now that Alex's third Murder Squad book, The Devil's Workshop, will be released in May. Be on the lookout!!!

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